UPDATE: On 19 January, Mozzafar Saleh Nia and Sharif Saed Panah were released on bail pending trial; Shith Amani remains detained without charge. Please participate in the updated letter-writing action.
On 5 January 2012, a well-known and respected labor activist and executive board member of the Iranian Workers’ Free Union, Mozaffar Saleh Nia, approached the Islamic regimes authorities in Sanandaj to lodge a complaint about the fact that no social services were being provided to people who, due to extreme poverty, had resorted to living on the street, with nothing more than cardboard boxes for shelter. As a result, he was arrested.
Just 3 days later, on 8 January 2012, another labor activist and member of the executive board of the Iranian Workers’ Free Union, Sharif Saed Panah, was arrested.
These outrageous arrests of respected labor and rights activists have resulted in massive protests by families, friends and honorable people of Sanandaj. Nevertheless, the Iranian Workers’ Free Union news site reported on 16 January 2012 that Shith Amani, yet another well-known and respected labour movement leader, was arrested after lodging a complaint on behalf of the families of the arrested labor activists and the union members as well as all honorable people of Sanandaj.
>As response to these criminal arrests of labor and rights activists in Kurdistan and other cities across Iran in recent weeks, in a courageous move, workers throughout Sanandaj have begun to circulate and sign their names openly a petition demanding the release of arrested workers.
Mission Free Iran applauds the workers of Sanandaj who have stood up in support of their fellow workers. In support of their petition, we have sent a request to the International Labor Organization to advocate for the immediate and unconditional release of Saed Panah, Saleh Nia, and Amani. We encourage others to do the same; a model letter and email addresses for the ILO appear below the announcement from the Iranian Workers’ Free Union about their petition action to free the worker activists.
1) Announcement from the Iranian Workers’ Free Union:
Workers of Sanandaj Demand Release of Sharif Saed Panah and Mozzafar Saleh Nia
Retired workers of Shaho Factory, dismissed workers of Par Rys Textile, Kurdistan Textile, Metalworkers and Construction, and Vendors of Sanandaj, each one, by signing a petition, have demanded the release of Sharif Saedpanah and Mozzafar Salehnia.
The collection of signatures of Sanandaj workers continues.
Iranian Workers’ Free Union
25 Dei 1390
2) Sample Letter to the International Labour Organization to Request Their Advocacy for the Release of Sharif Saed Panah, Mozzafar Saleh Nia and Shith Amani:
Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing with regard to the cases of Sharif Saed Panah, Mozzafar Saleh Nia and Shith Amani, three Iranian worker activists who have been arbitrarily detained in recent days by the authorities in Sanandaj, Iran, for demanding that social services be provided to people who have resorted to living on the street due to increasing poverty in the country.
These three labor activists are being illegally, arbitrarily detained and are at risk of torture. Furthermore, workers throughout Sanandaj have begun to circulate and sign their names openly on a petition demanding the release of the detained workers; they too are at risk of retribution from the regime.
I request that the International Labor Organization urgently advocate for the immediate and unconditional release of the three recently arrested labor activists in Sanandaj , along with all other labor activists who are currently arbitrarily detained by the anti-worker regime in Iran, including Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, Rasoul Bodaghi, Reza Shahabi, and Mohammad Hoseini, among others.